Modalities of Memorial: The Double Trauma of 1918 and Its Aftermaths

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In the years between 1918 and 1922, much of the world was coping with a double trauma: the massive destruction and lost lives in World War I; and the even greater loss of life caused by the Spanish Flu pandemic. Responses to both events were transnational, as countries struggled to cooperate in restoring a sense of balance, offering aid and consolation, and turning towards the future. International organizations like the Red Cross distributed medical supplies and assistance, and churches and charities raised large sums of money to help the victims. New organizations were formed and new mechanisms created to grieve and memorialize. Governments negotiated, civic leaders expostulated, and artists and musicians responded. But the modalities for grief and memorialization were almost wholly different for the two traumas. Why was this so? What can a comparison tell us about early twentieth century conceptions of loss, and the way in which these were transformed as the sentiment of Victorian culture gave way to the brashness of modernism? 

In this presentation Deniz Ertan and William Brooks speak from two different perspectives to explore the consistences in and vast differences between Euro-America’s response to the two traumas. They explore in particular the ways in which public art and music were deployed in the service of grief and memorials. The presentation is not a pair of separate papers but a jointly scripted interchange between different voices that traverse the international landscape, each with its own voice and memory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 23 Nov 2016
EventMusic and Nation, 1918–1945: Europe–Americas (II) - Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Nov 201624 Nov 2016


ConferenceMusic and Nation, 1918–1945
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • world war I
  • influenza
  • musicology
  • history
  • collaboration
  • memorials
  • popular music
  • death

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